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     Volume 5 Issue 93 | May 5, 2006 |

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Slice of Life

The Drawing Room
The Hubby Speaks

Richa Jha

Something stirred within the Wifey the day the property broker brought us inside this house. I looked at her and knew instantly that she would say a yes. Something stirred within me too when I inspected the then bare house. Identifying my special nooks, I dreamt up a whole world around them, and basked in the belief that they would continue to pull at my heartstrings for as long as we stayed here.

The (un)Packers dumped our furniture in the allotted rooms under strict supervision of The Wifey. "No. 41, hmmm, wooden round peg table, let's see, it goes there…yes, yes, there…or maybe a little to the left. Perfect! Now which number is this, let's see? 65? No, this one goes into that room. Uff. This chaos, when I have already pre-decided my rooms' arrangement...wonder what it would have been like had I left it completely for the last minute…" As you can see, the Wifey was unrelenting in her verbal deluge, mostly, expressing shock over the seemingly complete lack of recognition from my side of the meticulous planning she had soaked herself in before moving into the house. The decibel levels rose with the rising temperature, and I wondered which noise was more debilitating: that of the heavy furniture being dragged, set. Dragged again, or The Wifey's relentless spluttering.

My dream house, (as I felt that day smelling the fresh coat of paint, imagining our artefacts to be soon adorning the virgin walls, walking barefoot on the glinting floors) was being decked up, piece by piece by The Wifey, and I didn't seem to mind. There were instances where I felt a certain piece of furniture would look better even further to the left, but I kept my opinion to myself. A sensible man knows when to keep his mouth shut.

But I couldn't do it for long. Instantly jerked up from a floor cushion the moment I realised that the television and the music system were being directed towards some room other than this room where I had visualised my home theatre!

The Wifey looked un-amused. You must be kidding, she said. You think I will let you have THAT room? I have been dreaming of doing up the most gorgeous drawing room there, and you say the television should go in there? It is a preposterous suggestion, if you understand what I mean.

You bet I do, but not without my reservations. Time to open my mouth I thought, now or never. You cannot have everything your way wifey, stop being a bully. That didn't go down too well with her because her immediate reaction was placing a small carton (with a 'Fragile' sticker) on a glass-topped table with all her might. You keep your wonky ideas to yourself, Hubby dear, and let me deck up my dream flat. Home theatre, in my formal drawing room, no way.

But why do we need a formal space for a drawing room; isn't our lounging space good enough for all our friends? Cosy, inviting, and looks warm. Who would want to sit in this impersonal drawing room?

The debate that started that day, four years ago, in the presence of the (un)packers, our year old son and a just-recruited domestic help, is yet to reach a meaningful conclusion.

I remember The Wifey adopting her characteristic opiniated, and should I say, somewhat arrogant, one hand-on-the-hip stance, and hasn't budged an inch since. Even if we have one formal dinner in one year, it is still worth it, you understand? This room remains like this, whether you like it or not.

But this is also MY dream flat, isn't it? That didn't cut much ice with her, and again, piece by piece, footsteps after footsteps, cartons upon cartons unpacked, I saw my dream melting away in the heat of the Wifey's insensitiveness.

I pointed it out to her that it was a complete waste of the best room in the house; the room with the most spectacular views on all sides; a room just the right size for a home theatre cum recreation area (you know we could play Scrabble here during the day, and chat up until very late in the night without disturbing the kid, I suggested); a room simply too beautiful to be wasted over the kind of infrequent visitors you wouldn't care much about; a room that seems to be begging for being utilised for the family, with the family. Please, consider reconsidering, please?

The Wifey remained unmoved, and has remained, as such, until this day, when we are finally preparing to leave from Dhaka. My greatest grouse is against it being the most wasted space in the house. The Wifey clears her conscience by using it as a clothes drying area during the monsoons, but that's about it.

In the interim, there has not been one day when I have not wistfully peeped into the room and regretted over my space that could have been. There has not been a week when I have not broached it with The Wifey and been turned down mercilessly. There has not been a month where, after a fun get-together with friends at our place (in the lounge), I have pointed out to her that our folks all loathe the other room. There has not been a year when I have not suggested reshuffling our rooms to add a renewed zest in living in this flat. But the Wifey has remained as steadfast as ever. And the Drawing Room has remained as cold, lifeless, unwelcoming, officiously done up, un-us-like, and unutilised as ever.

Last week, though, I was pleasantly surprised to see old clothes starting to pile up on the sofas, and old books beginning to be stacked up on the centre table. She quickly explained that, now that she had begun cleaning up the house in a big way before our departure, pruning the cupboards and all, she thought the drawing room was the best space as it remained largely unused. I'll keep all the discard-able items there, and decide once and for all later, she said. Did I see a hint of reconciliation in her tone? I instantly grabbed the opportunity. Why don't we convert this into our audio-visual room, at least for this last month that we are here?

Hmmm, let me think, I guess we could…, she muttered under her breath, not quite looking into my eyes. Late last evening, she asked me where I wanted the Television placed.

Personal moral victory, at last. And I certainly don't mind the four long wasted years!


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